The characterization between the male and аemale population in Stepford was greatly significant in drawing the line between the gender roles prescribed to man and woman. The women of Stepford were transformed to become traditionally out of touch with contemporary society as they were controlled to become unknowing of their ability to extend their lives apart from life as a wife to their husbands.
On the other hand, the men in Stepford portray the fear or concern that they felt thinking about the status or position of the male population if women are left to make decisions for themselves and expand their knowledge and capabilities to move on beyond the familial life. As an answer to the fears of the men of Stepford, they exerted time and effort in devising a plan by which they are able to ground their wives to the home life despite the changing societal perspective on the outside world of Stepford as illustrated in Eberhart’s previous life.
The gender roles in the film were stereotypical, as well as the stereotypical views of man on women. The women in Stepford devoted their time to domestic life, doing stereotypical house chores day in and day out, such as knitting and gardening. They were all dressed in the same way, and acted the same way, with their primary purpose in life of having to satisfy the needs of their husbands.
The roles of the men were also stereotypical, such that they were the ones that worked to provide for their family, experiencing personal growth and development through their daily exposure to current information, and such. The roles of Eberhart and Markowitz were intended to portray differences on how the roles of women were portrayed. As aforementioned, Eberhart’s previous life was the opposite of the domestic life of the Stepford Wives, while Markowitz was the symbolism for imperfection, as suggested by her problems on alcoholism.
The primary theme of the film, as the book, which builds the foundations or reasons behind the story, symbolisms, and messages that it conveys adheres to the principle of feminism. The film was intended to portray satirical gender roles that criticize the dimensions of a patriarchal society, giving way to feminism which is focused on asserting the equal and justified roles and approaches to women studies and beliefs.
The film locks into the concept of feminism which tries to diminish gender inequality by means of portraying how the opposite gender and society acts in oppressing women. The behavior of men in Stepford adheres to the functionalist perspective, as their decision to embroil and subject their wives to control and manipulation were based on their views of the ideal roles that women should fulfill, deviating from what they view as male roles. The men in Stepford have set one-sided norms and standards of living which were based on their patriarchal view of gender roles.
The actions of Eberhart and Markowitz may be explicated through the conflict theory of sociological dimensions. Although Stepford might appear to be a utopic community, sound knowledge of social dimensions reveal how this particular community is under social chaos. The conflict is brought about by inequality and oppression, and from this conflict, Eberhart and Markowitz decided to restore social order by bogging down the patriarchal society that exists in Stepford.
Stepford Wives. Dir. Frank Oz. Screenplay by Paul Rudnick. Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler. 2004. Paramount Pictures.